on hockey

The regular season of the NHL has commenced. With my new method of writing my messages first in the week, I had a little time tonight to watch a bit of Hockey Night in Canada.

Now hockey is pretty much a religion in our country, in every sense of the word. Christians need to be on guard against the religious aspects of sport. But I do enjoy hockey – there is no sport quite like it.

I caught a bit of the end of the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadiens won on a shootout, an innovation I could do without. The part of the game I watched was a bit slow, but it was hockey so I watched. Then my Oilers came on against the hated Calgary Flames. Edmonton beat Calgary in the opener two nights ago. This game had a lot of jump — a number of factors, the nature of the two teams compared to the rebuilding Habs and Leafs, the style of play in the West, etc. Lots of speed and action, but not much scoring. The Oilers got on the board first with a power play, but then Calgary tied it near the end of the first and went ahead at the end of the second.

Then I quit watching. It wasn’t the game, it was quite appealing. But it just isn’t that important. I don’t need to live and die with every shot. There will be other games and other days and it just doesn’t matter who wins. (Although I do like it when the Oilers win.)

Earlier, I mentioned that the Christian must be on guard against the religious aspects of sport. How do we do that? By limiting our intake. By eschewing the tokens of the hockey gods (emblems, logos, key fobs, mugs, what have you)… or those of the football, baseball, basketball gods …

Is it a sin to wear a cap with a logo on it? No. But is there something wrong with our hearts if we must have all kinds of memorabilia and become a walking billboard for ‘my team’? Quite probably.

The way to deal with this is to put the body under, keep it under control. Turn your attention elsewhere, especially to Christ. Become enamoured with him, as a man and as God, and not just another idol. Give your time and attention to him. Labour for him. Spend your spare time on him. Serve him. Serve in his kingdom.

And if you relax and watch a period or two of hockey or an inning of baseball (or even a whole game now and then), you have not sinned. But keep your body under. Keep it in control.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

PS: I did check to see how it all came out — the Flames won 2-1, no more scoring in the third. So I saw all there was to see as it turned out!

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